updated 02:45 pm EST, Sat February 16, 2008
Toshiba to End HD DVD
Previous reports that Toshiba will end its efforts in HD DVD are accurate, according to a report by Japanese broadcaster NHK as well as additional sources. The electronics maker is poised to both stop future development as well as ramp down manufacturing of HD DVD players, recorders, and PC drives. The move will be one of Toshiba's costliest to date and should cost hundreds of millions of dollars, according to the Japan press outlet. Toshiba has not responded to the claims, though sources have suggested an official announcement will be made soon.
If accurate, the end to HD DVD will represent one of the quickest ever for competing formats and will effectively hand the entire HD movie format war to its chief opponent, Blu-ray. The rapid fall began with movie studio Warner Bros.' plan to drop HD DVD just before the Consumer Electronics Show in January, which handed a clear majority of HD movies to Blu-ray and forced the HD DVD Promotional Group to cancel its keynote presentation for the event. The shift led to a sustained marketshare lead for Blu-ray almost immediately afterwards and spurred several independent studios to echo Warner's Blu-ray only policy.
Toshiba's decision is widely believed to have been accelerated by events of the past week, which saw Best Buy, Netflix, and ultimately Wal-Mart all announce that they would drop HD DVD over coming months, all but killing HD DVD's ability to gain traction in the American market.
Until Warner's decision, both formats had largely remained competitive with each other since their respective launches in 2006. Blu-ray typically enjoyed wider support from hardware manufacturers such as Pioneer, Samsung, and Sony, but was countered by the typically lower prices of Toshiba's HD DVD players as well as official support from Microsoft which saw an Xbox 360 add-on drive and official promotion of the standard for Windows PCs.